Top 15 Most Famous People from Delaware


*Originally published by Faith in October 2022 and Updated by Vanessa R in September 2023

Delaware is located in the Northwestern and mid-Atlantic parts of the United States of America. The state has several nicknames which include ‘The Diamond State’, ‘The Small Wonder’ and ‘The Blue Hen State. Several celebrated individuals come from this state. This may be surprising as when people hear the names of celebrities, they think of Hollywood.

Therefore, this article will explore the top 15 most famous people from this state to show the reader that the state has also produced distinguished people. From television stars to famous athletes, the state has a lot to offer.

1 Aubrey Plaza

A picture of Aubrey Plaza by Gage Skidmore-Wikimedia

The actress was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1984. While starting, the actress performed sketch comedy and improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre until she caught her big break and was cast as April Ludgate on NBC’s sitcom Parks and Recreation which was aired from 2009 to 2015.

The actress has also appeared in many other great films. She had the leading role in a film known as Safety not Guaranteed which was released in 2012. This show that the actress has made the people of her state proud by ensuring that she is the best in what she does.

2 Elisabeth Shue

Like Aubrey Plaza, Elisabeth Shue was also born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1963. The star is best known for her roles in the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and the film, ‘Leaving Las Vegas. Elisabeth started her acting career while she was in college. She then went on to appear in different commercials and became the face of different brands.

She debuted in early 1980s cinema. She made an appearance in the wildly popular martial arts drama movie “The Karate Kid” in 1984. She has now taken on a variety of roles in movies and television shows, demonstrating her flexibility as an actress. Her most well-known film is the 1995 romantic drama “Leaving Las Vegas,” in which she played a hardened prostitute. She gained praise from critics for her work in the film and won multiple prizes in the best actress category. She was also nominated for an “Academy Award,” a “Golden Globe,” and a “BAFTA.”

3 Teri Polo

A picture of Teri Polo by Greg Hernandez-Wikimedia

She is an American actress born in Dover, Delaware. The actress started her career at a young age when she moved to New York City at 17 to pursue her acting career. This was after she had won a modelling contest. Her career started with a role in a soap opera known as Loving in 1987. The next year, she got a role in a CBC series known as TV 101.

Elisabeth has gone on to appear in several great movies like The Fosters, The Hole, Good Trouble, Criminal Minds, Sports Night, Frasier, Ghost Whisperer and The Practice. Her vast experience in the world of films and movies has made her a household name and thus made the state of Delaware known.

4 Ryan Phillipe

Popularly known as Ryan Phillippe, Mathew Ryan Phillippe was born in New Castle, Delaware. He is a famous actor known for his role in the horror film ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’. Ryan knew that he wanted to venture into the acting industry from a young age and by the age of 15, he was seriously considering it. An agent spotted him and he landed a modelling job in Philadelphia.

His perseverance was rewarded when he was chosen to play Billy Douglas in the hit television drama “One Life to Live.” For the first time in a TV series, he had the hard character of a gay adolescent, which helped him acquire recognition in the industry. He won praise for his performances in the coming years for both small- and big-screen projects. He gained a lot of fame for his performance in the horror movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Later, he also performed in a lot of serious and romantic roles.

5 Ashley Biden

A picture of Ashley Biden by David Lieneman-Wikimedia

The American entrepreneur and social worker is the daughter of the 47th President of the United States of America, Joe Biden and his wife Jill Tracy Jacobs. At the time she was born, his father had been a senator for the state of Delaware for eight years. As a child, she had a passion for social work and therefore, it is not a surprise that she took on that career path as an adult.

She started her work as a clinical support specialist at the NHS Children’s Reach Clinic after earning a Master of Social Work in social policy and practice from the University of Pennsylvania. Later, she joined the West End Neighborhood House as an employment and education expert. She has also held positions with the nonprofit Delaware Center for Justice and the DSCYF.

6 Beau Biden

Beau is also the son of the president of the United States of America. He held a variety of positions, including, Major in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and Attorney General of Delaware. After earning his legal degree from Syracuse University College of Law, he spent nearly nine years working for the US Department of Justice before joining a private law firm as a partner. Later, he was chosen as Delaware’s attorney general.

He was a Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and served in the military as well. He served in Iraq from October 2008 to September 2009 for just over a year throughout his time in the service. He was elected to a second term as Delaware’s attorney general in November 2010. His career was cut short after he succumbed to cancer in 2015

7 Stephen Marley

Stephen Marley on stage. Photo by ddkkpp-Wikimedia

He is the son of the legendary Jamaican singer Bob Marley. Stephen is also a singer and producer and this is no surprise as he had a world-renowned musician for a father. He is an eight-time Grammy Award winner and he won three of them as a solo artist and two others when was a producer of his younger brother Damian Marley. The final three awards he received were when he was a member of his older brother Ziggy Marley’s band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. The awards show that the musician has had a successful career so far. It seems that he is following in the footsteps of his father.

8 Judge Reinhold

His real name is Edward Ernest Reinhold but is commonly known as Judge Reinhold, in the Beverly Hills Cop film trilogy. He has also played several prominent characters over the years in a variety of other well-known movies. He co-starred with Bull Murray in the comedy “Stripes,” and both the reviewers and the crowd praised him for his performance. He made an appearance in the “The Santa Clause” trilogy, another film trilogy, although it failed to live up to the audience’s expectations. He is a well-known character actor with more than 75 appearances in movies and television to his name.

9 Bryan Stevenson

The lawyer, activist and clinical professor were born in Milton, Delaware. He has dedicated his life towards helping minorities. Having been raised in a segregated community, he saw first-hand how the judicial system deprived them of fair treatment.

Stevenson discovered how the segregated society had been denied equal treatment in the legal system while working as an intern at the “Southern Center for Human Rights.” To ensure uniform legal counsel and end the death penalty, he founded the “Equal Justice Initiative” in Montgomery, Alabama. Working with the group, Stevenson has presided over countless instances where racially biased convicts were given accessible legal representation, and just verdicts and the death penalty were overturned. He sought to make mentally ill and juvenile offenders eligible for parole. His attempts to promote social justice have greatly increased the level of consistency in the U.S. judicial system.

10. Joe Biden

President Joe Biden poses for his official potrait. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz-Wikimedia

Even though he was born in Pennsylvania, the statesman has lived in the state for a long time. He was the senator for the state of Delaware since 1973. Inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States in 2021, he was elected to the position of Vice President in 2009. Therefore, the state has something to be proud of as they have produced the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world.

11. Clifford Brown

Top 15 Most Famous People from Delaware

Associated Booking Corporation (management), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

American jazz trumpeter and composer Clifford Brown was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1930. He is recognised as one of the most important performers of the swing era and is known for his remarkable skill, lyrical ingenuity, and expressive manner.

Early trumpet training allowed Brown to become a rising figure in the jazz world by the time he was in his late teens. Through his collaborations with jazz greats like Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey, he attracted widespread prominence in the early 1950s. He then joined up with drummer Max Roach to form his own group, the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet.

12. Jimmie Allen

Known for his deep voice, memorable melodies, and sentimental lyrics, Jimmie Allen is an American country singer and songwriter. Allen, who was born in 1986 in Milton, Delaware, came from a musical family and started playing at a young age. In order to pursue his dream of a career in music, he relocated to Nashville in 2007. Over the following years, he developed his art by performing in neighbourhood bars and clubs and penning songs.

With his first single, “Best Shot,” Allen made a big splash in the country music world in 2018. The song topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart and garnered positive reviews. Since then, he has produced a number of hit songs and two full-length albums, “Mercury Lane” and “Bettie James.”

13. John Gallagher Jr.

Top 15 Most Famous People from Delaware

iDominick, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Actor, singer, and songwriter John Gallagher Jr. hails from the United States and is known for his outstanding range and variety of skills. Gallagher, who was born in 1984 in Wilmington, Delaware, started acting and performing at a young age. He soon discovered a love for both.

Gallagher originally became well-known on a national scale for his work on the Broadway stage, where he performed in a number of well-received shows like “Spring Awakening” and “American Idiot.” He established himself as a well-known actor in both film and television, playing prominent roles in productions including “Short Term 12,” “10 Cloverfield Lane,” “The Newsroom” and “Westworld.”

14. Travis Greene

American gospel singer, composer, and pastor Travis Greene is known for his strong voice, engaging onstage presence, and upbeat, encouraging music. Greene was born in Delaware in 1984, and as a child, he started playing the piano and singing in church. He also grew up in a musical family.

Greene developed his musical and lyrical abilities over time, and in 2015, his album “The Hill,” which received two Stellar Awards and a Grammy nomination, helped him attain national attention. Since then, he has put out several more well-received CDs, including “Crossover: Live from Music City” and “Broken Record.” Greene is known for his captivating tunes, contagious beats, and stirring messages of faith and optimism.

15. George Thorogood

American blues rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist George Thorogood is renowned for his exhilarating, high-intensity live performances and his unique sound, which fuses classic blues and rock roots with a raw, gritty edge. 1950-born Thorogood, who first picked up a guitar as a child, was greatly influenced by the blues music of artists like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. Thorogood was born in Wilmington, Delaware.

Throughout the years, Thorogood improved his musical abilities and created his own personal style, which he displayed on a number of popular albums in the 1980s and 1990s, including “Bad to the Bone” and “The Hard Stuff.”